As he takes over as Haryana CM for a second term, Bhupinder Singh Hooda tells Brijesh Pandey why he almost didn’t make it
The Assembly result must have come as a surprise to you. Initially you were confident of a landslide victory, but you failed to secure even a simple majority. What were the reasons for this poor show?
There are different reasons for this. I don’t want to go into the details, but I would say that though we lost the battle, we won the war.
Was it wrong distribution of party tickets or failure to understand local aspirations? Who do you hold responsible for the debacle?
It was perhaps a mix of both on some count, but overall it was the collective responsibility of the state leadership. Whether there were some errors on the ticket distribution front or not being able to understand local aspirations in some areas, it was all, in the end, a collective responsibility of the state leadership.
You have said that you have been backstabbed by fellow partymen. What makes you say this?
There were many complaints by party workers that several leaders were working against the interest of the party. There were people who didn’t want me to succeed. I have told the party High Command about it. Now it’s for the party High Command to decide. It is unfortunate and these people should have backed the party, but what do you say? It is now an internal matter of the party.
Can you name those people who have backstabbed the party?
It’s an internal matter of the party and I have already told you that I have informed the party about it.
How do you describe the success of the INLD? Initially you wrote them off, but they pulled off such a spectacular win.
They won by default. Come what may, they will sit in the opposition.
How will you ensure the stability of your government, given that you are five short of majority?
Well, we have seven Independent MLAs supporting us. We are the only party that can provide stability to Haryana. So, anyone who has the best interest of the state in his heart will support the Congress.
Would you welcome Bhajan Lal back into the Congress? Will you take his support?
If he extends support to us unconditionally, why not? He is welcome into the party. After all, just sometime back he was part of the Congress.
‘Bhajan Lal is welcome to join us. After all, just sometime back he was part of the Congress party’
What are your priorities after forming the next government?
The policies of the Congress party are for the common man. We work only for the development of the common man. We will continue working on the projects that we launched during our previous rule, whether it is power or education or agriculture. Power shortage will be over by 2011. The main focus will be the overall development of the state.
What about the industrial unrest in Gurgaon? How do you plan to tackle it?
The issue will be settled. Nobody will be allowed to take the law into their own hands. Any genuine demand of the workers will always be considered but we can’t allow people to hold the state to ransom.